Silence and Absence in Literature and Music

Series:

This volume focusses on the rarely discussed reverse side of traditional, ‘given’ objects of studies, namely absence rather than presence (of text) and silence rather than sound. It does so from the bifocal and interdisciplinary perspective which is a hallmark of the book series Word and Music Studies.
The twelve contributors to the main subject of this volume approach it from various systematic and historical angles and cover, among others, questions such as to what extent absence can become significant in the first place or iconic (silent) functions of musical scores, as well as discussions of fields ranging from baroque opera to John Cage’s 4’33’’. The volume is complemented by two contributions dedicated to further surveying the vast field of word and music studies.
The essays collected here were originally presented at the Ninth International Conference on Word and Music Studies held at London University in August 2013 and organised by the International Association for Word and Music Studies. They are of relevance to scholars and students of literature, music and intermediality studies as well as to readers generally interested in phenomena of absence and silence.
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Biographical Note

Werner Wolf
Professor and Chair of English and General Literature at the Univer¬sity of Graz/Austria. Main areas of research: literary theory (aesthetic illusion, narratology, metafiction), functions of literature, 18th- to 21st-century English fiction, intermediality studies (including word and music relationships).

Walter Bernhart
Retired Professor of English Literature, University of Graz, president of International Association for Word and Music Studies (WMA), executive editor of Word and Music Studies (WMS) and Studies in Intermediality (SIM); his collected essays on literature and music were published as WMS 14 (2015).

Review Quotes

“Silence and absence—two different but overlapping categories—rank among the most intriguing concepts in cultural studies, challenging the human imagination no less than the representational possibilities of traditional arts and modern media technologies.
[…]
The present volume, […] offers a wide range of insightful and carefully researched articles on a variety of instances of absence/silence in literary texts, musical scores, classical opera, and avant-garde performance.”
- Rolf J. Goebel, University of Alabama in Huntsville in Monatshefte, (2017) Vol. 109.1 pp. 132-4

Table of contents

Preface

Silence and Absence in Literature and Music

Theoretical Aspects

Werner Wolf
How Does Absence Become Significant in Literature and Music?

Lawrence Kramer
Rosetta Tones: The Score as Hieroglyph

Historical Studies

Blake Stevens
The Spectacular Imagination and the Rhetoric of Absence in Armide

Naomi Matsumoto
‘Ghost Writing’: An Exploration of Presence and Absence in Lucia di Lammermoor

Laura Wahlfors
How to Play the Music of Absence? The Romantic Aesthetics of Longing in Schumann’s Kreisleriana, Part 4

Beate Schirrmacher
Mute Performances: Ekphrasis of Music, and Performative Aesthetics in Eyvind Johnson’s Romantisk berättelse

Mary Breatnach
Silence and Music in Mallarmé’s Un coup de dés .

Axel Englund
Silence and the Sawmill: Rainer Maria Rilke on the Nuisance of Sounding Music .

Peter Dayan
The Inaudible Music of Dada

Karl Katschthaler
Absence, Presence and Potentiality: John Cage’s 4̍33̎ Revisited

Bernhard Kuhn
The Silence of an Elephant: Luigi Nono’s Al Gran Sole Carico d’Amore (1975)

Michael Halliwell
The Sound of Silence: A Tale of Two Operatic Tempests .

Word and Music Studies: Surveying the Field

Emily Petermann
The Film Musical as a Subject for Word and Music Studies .

Jeppe Klitgaard Stricker
Musical Form in the Novel: Beyond the Sonata Principle .

Notes on Contributors .

Readership

All interested in the relationships of literature and music as well as generally intermediality studies; musicologists, literary scholars.